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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-91
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-91
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

A comprehensive history of climate and habitat stability of the last 800&thinsp,000 years

Mario Krapp1, Robert Beyer1, Stephen L. Edmundson1,2, Paul J. Valdes3, and Andrea Manica1 Mario Krapp et al.
  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 CD Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 3School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, BS8 1SS Bristol, UK

Abstract. A detailed and accurate reconstruction of the past climate is essential in understanding the interactions between ecosystems and their environment through time. We know that climatic drivers have shaped the distribution and evolution of species, including our own, and their habitats. Yet, spatially-detailed climate reconstructions that continuously cover the Quaternary do not exist. This is mainly because no paleoclimate model can reconstruct regional-scale dynamics over geological time scales. Here we develop a statistical emulator, the Global Climate Model Emulator (GCMET), which reconstructs the climate of the last 800 000 years with unprecedented spatial detail. GCMET captures the temporal dynamics of glacial-interglacial climates as an Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity would whilst resolving the local dynamics with the accuracy of a Global Climate Model. It provides a new, unique resource to explore the climate of the Quaternary, which we use to investigate the long-term stability of major habitat types. We identify a number of stable pockets of habitat that have remained unchanged over the last 800 thousand years, acting as potential long-term evolutionary refugia. Thus, the highly detailed, comprehensive overview of climatic changes through time delivered by GCMET provides the needed resolution to quantify the role of long term habitat change and fragmentation in an ecological and anthropological context.

Mario Krapp et al.
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Short summary
The local response of the global climate system to the external drivers of the glacial–interglacial climates throughout the Quaternary can be approximated by a simple linear regression model. Based on numerical climate model simulations for the last glacial cycle, our global climate model emulator (GCMET) is able to reconstruct the climate of the last 800 000 years, in good agreement with long-term terrestrial and marine proxy records.
The local response of the global climate system to the external drivers of the...
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